“I don’t think there’s a better female wrestler in the world right now.”
Not my words – though I agree with them – but the words of WWE Champion CM Punk, who confirmed that Sara Del Rey has been employed as a trainer for the company and will be working in its developmental facilities in Florida.
We have stayed deathly quiet over Del Rey’s signing with WWE since we found out, as they notoriously hate their private business affairs being discussed openly, and would not want to jeopardise the position of anyone signing a contract with them. For that reason, we wait until the ink is dry and they appear in WWE facilities. That happened on September 28 when Bill DeMott sent out a Tout video of Joey Mercury, Norman Smiley and Del Rey in NXT trainers’ shirts offering a small pitch for wrestlers to come and try out. A photo of the trainers soon followed, and then came the confirmation from Punk at the Ohio Comic Con on September 29.
“We recently hired Sara Del Rey to train our future Divas. I know a lot of people will be like, ‘Oh, that sucks, Sara should be on television’ and maybe you’re right, but I’ve talked to her about it. This is her dream job. She gets to wrestle everyday and she gets paid for it.” (more…)
A number of internet rumours have started to circulate this evening over the disappearance of Raquel Diaz‘s profile on the NXT Roster Page – had she been released from her deal? Was it simply a case of her profile page being taken down for maintenance? Well, word has reached us here at Ringbelles that Raquel Diaz, aka Shaul Guerrero, has been released from WWE at her own request. While we’re not at liberty to expand any further on the whys or wherefores at this time, we can at least confirm that as of now, Shaul and WWE have parted ways.
It’s interesting to note yet another female talent stepping away from WWE at their own request, in the same week that it was confirmed by several sources, including the Observer, that Beth Phoenix would be finishing up in October, having requested her own release also – which theoretically may open up a spot on the main roster. Of the women in the developmental system, it would’ve seemed safe to assume that Shaul would have found herself on the main roster sooner rather than later. A third generation member of the legendary Guerrero family, the 21-year-old daughter of Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero and current WWE heat magnet Vickie Guerrero looked to have it made – while she never seemed to have anything quite approaching her father’s instinctual talent level, Shaul was able to throw herself into her most recent “Ultra Diva” role (as seen on NXT as part of her “Exfoliating Ugliness” Tour) very well and was starting to carve herself out a niche amongst the developmental women.
In other NXT Divas related news, the situation regarding the former Buggy Nova, aka Skyler Moon is still murky. Her profile has been missing from the NXT roster page for several weeks, but we’ve been unable to clarify exactly what’s going on. We’ll keep an eye on the story.
UPDATE: Further to the post earlier, we’ve received troubling word that Skyler/Buggy has, in fact, been checked into WWE sponsored rehab, which would explain her profile being gone from the NXT website and her absence from social media for the last month. It brings us no pleasure to report this news, but we hope she can deal with her issues. Her current status either in her rehab program or with the company at large remains unclear, but we wish her all the best at this time.
UPDATE 2: In an interesting twist to the lead story, today the Observer is reporting that WWE officials are saying that Shaul Guerrero is still under contract after all. It remains to be seen what this means, but for now the company line is what the company line is. Speculating, it could mean that there have been eleventh hour talks to salvage a future in the company for Shaul – with Vickie held in good standing on the main roster, and WWE keen to look after Eddie’s family, it would be unsurprising if that is the case. We shall see.
UPDATE 3: Despite Shaul’s mother Vickie Guerrero tweeting in confirmation of our story, explaining that Shaul “asked to be released from WWE for personal reasons. Im grateful to WWE for the support & love toward my family”, the final update on the situation appears to be that WWE have *not* granted a release in the hope that she will return. From what we understand, Shaul has returned home for personal reasons. There is absolutely no expectation or timetable for anything, and what happens will eventually be up to Miss Guerrero, but it seems that while she and the company *have* parted ways, WWE aren’t cutting off an olive branch for when/if she wishes to return.
I was due to write the review of the Beth vs Layla match at No Way Out last week, but due to other priorities, I had to leave it to Lee. It’s probably just as well that I’ve had a week to think about it, because for what it’s worth, I hated the match. Well, maybe “hated” is too strong a word, but I really didn’t like the comedy of Layla stealing Beth’s headband and dancing with it. The finish of Beth losing again also irritated me a bit, mostly because it’s patently clear that WWE have absolutely nothing in mind for Layla, and with Beth losing again, it securely slots her below Layla on the pecking order and kills another level of anticipation (whatever there is left of it anyway) for the Beth Phoenix vs Kharma feud that we’ve been waiting/hoping for ever since Kharma signed up with the company.
Let’s make it clear here – my major downer on the Divas division at the minute is not the usual “wrestlers vs models” debate (I’ve learned for the most part to turn off my brain and find a way to enjoy the Divas for what they are rather than what they aren’t)… no… my big problem is the fact that at the minute, the future of the Divas division is just deathly dull. (more…)
Following her arrest over being arrested for narcotics possession last week, Io Shirai was indefinitely suspended by her home promotion, Stardom. The official statement refrains from making a comment on the current legal situation, but did distance itself from the former Triple Tails member, and apologised to fans. Io’s sister Mio did the same thing in a blog post, saying that their relationship had been strained recently, and Io had distanced herself from her family. She also pointed out that she heard about the arrest in the same way everyone else did – via the media.
Shirai’s suspension should not come as a surprise. Drugs are a serious no-no in Japan, and any wrestling organisation would want to disassociate itself with anything that may trouble or dissuade sponsors.
22-year old Shirai and her boyfriend NOSAWA Rongai were arrested at Narita Airport after returning from Mexico, after a total of 75 grams of marijuana was found hidden in the frames of two paintings given to them from fans. In somewhere like the US or UK, 75 grams is a small amount of cannabis – but this Japan, which has ferocious anti-drug laws to discourage people from smuggling, selling, cultivating or selling them in the country. For example, because caught with weed could result in a five year prison sentence which also incorporates hard labour. That’s a stiff penalty, and really not worth the risk.
At the moment, both Shirai and Rongai (who deny the allegations) are being held in a detention centre where the prosecutor will prepare in indictment. If that happens, the chances of being acquitted is very slim. (more…)
A lot is discussed about how the WWE Divas feel about the short amount of TV time they are given for wrestling, and even less for angles, interviews and promos – something that we discussed with Kelly Kelly in one of our early Women Of Wrestling Podcasts – and it seems there is some credence to those rumours of what goes on behind the scenes.
A poster over at GameFaqs claims that he was an assistant for the writing team, primarily based at WWE’s facilities in Stamford, CT. He claims that his time with the company was not long – just between September and December of last year – but during that time, he says that he picked up on a number of different issues. Whether they hold any water or not is your decision, but we believe some of the allegations – listed in two posts by Scott Keith here and here – are plausible.
The overlying point is the frustration that the women in WWE have for the short amount of screen time they have to get over – which generally isn’t enough, but they have to make do, though they apparently do not take out their issues on their colleagues:
The biggest complainers are probably the Divas, and rightfully so. They always wish they were getting more TV time and longer matches and I can’t blame them…
The Divas all seem very nice and friendly. I only managed to introduce myself to AJ backstage at Survivor Series. She was sweet and introduced herself as April. Beth [Phoenix], Natalya and Alicia [Fox] walked by me on a few occasions backstage and smiled or nodded professionally.
After the jump, there is more, including how the Natalya farting gimmick came about, and why Tamina Snuka was pushed earlier this year: (more…)
With all the hoopla over Britani Knight‘s FCW debut a couple of days ago, the question then turns to who she’s going to end up working with in developmental. All of the NXT Season 3 Divas are still putting their time in here – in some cases while also working on the main WWE roster. Katlyn & AJ are on Smackdown semi-regularly, as is Aksana (in a non wrestling role), while Maxine is (quite literally) strutting herself on NXT. In a continuing mystery, the most physically impressive and technically sound of the NXT girls is still here full time – that being Naomi. Other names in developmental at the minute include the female competitors from Tough Enough. Ariane Andrew (now Cameron Lynn), Ivelisse Velez (now Sofia Cortez) and Christina Crawford (now Caylee Turner). Audrey Marie is Houston native Ashley Marie, who was also signed in 2011, but most notably and intriguingly is the presence of Eddie & Vickie Guerrero‘s eldest daughter Shaul, who rather than carry the family name, competes under the name of Raquel Diaz (for reasons best known to WWE/FCW). Her family legacy is not a secret, however, as you’ll see with her finishing sequence in this “Queen of FCW” match with Aksana. Click through to see. (more…)